Mission San Francisco de Solano
Mission San Francisco Solano circa 1910
|Location||114 East Spain Street
Sonoma, California 95476
|English translation||The Mission of Saint Francis Solanus of Sonoma|
|Patron||Saint Francis Solanus of Montilla, Spain|
|Founding date||July 4, 1823 |
|Governing body||California Department of Parks and Recreation|
|California Historical Landmark|
Mission San Francisco Solano was founded on July 4, 1823, and named for Francis Solanus, a missionary to the Indians of Peru born in Montilla, Spain, known as the "Wonder Worker of the New World." Originally planned as an asistencia ("sub-mission") to Mission San Rafael Arcángel, it is the northernmost Alta California Franciscan mission (an attempt to found a twenty-second mission in Santa Rosa in 1827 was aborted). The mission is located in present-day Sonoma, California, at 114 East Spain Street.
The mission was built by the Mexican authorities as a barrier to Russia's attempts to extend control to the federal territory of Alta California. During the years the Mission was active, General Mariano Vallejo resided in town. He was tasked with monitoring the activities of Russia at their nearby settlement of Fort Ross (krepost' rus'), and with establishing peaceful relations with the Native Americans of the region. Vallejo helped to build the town of Sonoma and even paid for the rebuilding of the small Mission chapel. There were always soldiers and settlers in the town of Sonoma during the Mexican period. The Franciscan Fathers grew grapes and produced sacramental wine from the first vineyard in the Sonoma Valley, which was first planted in 1825. By 1834, Vallejo had the Rancho Petaluma Adobe built a few miles to the west, which became a large agricultural body operation to support the Spanish military here.
By 1839, the Mission was in ruins and unoccupied. Through the years the Mission saw many different uses, among these a blacksmith's shop, a barn, and even a storeroom. In 1846, white American settlers took over the town in what has come to be known as the "Bear Flag Revolt." It was during this time that the Mission was sold to a man who used the chapel entrance as a saloon and stored his liquor and hay in the chapel. The Mission eventually became a parish church serving the Pueblo and Sonoma Valley until it was sold to a private interest in 1882. In 1903, the California Historic Landmarks League bought the remains of Mission San Francisco Solano. Restoration was completed in 1913. Today, the Mission is part of the Sonoma State Historic Park.
See also 
- Mission San Rafael Arcángel
- El Presidio de Sonoma
- USNS Mission Solano (AO-135) — a Mission Buenaventura Class fleet oiler built during World War II
- Sonoma Plaza — the U.S. National Historic Landmark District in front of the mission
- Yenne, p. 182
- Krell, p. 315: as of December 31, 1832; information adapted from Engelhardt's Missions and Missionaries of California. Mission Francisco Solano witnessed the fewest number of baptisms, marriages, and burials of any settlement in the Alta California chain.
- Hittell, p. 499: "...it [Mission San Francisco de Solano] was quite frequently known as the mission of Sonoma. From the beginning it was rather a military than a religious establishment—a sort of outpost or barrier, first against the Russians and afterwards against the Americans; but still a large adobe church was built and Indians were baptized."
- Hittell, p. 499: "By that time, it was found that the Russians were not such undesireable neighbors as in 1817 it was thought they might become...the Russian scare, for the time being at least was over; and as for the old enthusiasm for new spiritual conquests, there was none left."
- Moyano Pahissa, Angela (1992). La Resistencia de las Californias a la invasion Norteamericana (1846-1848). p. 33. ISBN 968-29-3539-3.
- Nordlander, p. 10
- Petaluma Adobe State Historic Park brochure, Petaluma Adobe State Historic Park, 2005
- Forbes, Alexander (1839). California: A History of Upper and Lower California. Smith, Elder and Co., Cornhill, London.
- Hittell, Theodore H. (1898). History of California, Volume I. N.J. Stone & Company, San Francisco, CA.
- Jones, Terry L. and Kathryn A. Klar (eds.) (2007). California Prehistory: Colonization, Culture, and Complexity. Altimira Press, Landham, MD. ISBN 0-7591-0872-2.
- Krell, Dorothy (ed.) (1979). The California Missions: A Pictorial History. Sunset Publishing Corporation, Menlo Park, CA. ISBN 0-376-05172-8.
- Leffingwell, Randy (2005). California Missions and Presidios: The History & Beauty of the Spanish Missions. Voyageur Press, Inc., Stillwater, MN. ISBN 0-89658-492-5.
- Nordlander, David J. (1994). For God & Tsar: A Brief History of Russian America 1741–1867. Alaska Natural History Association, Anchorage, AK. ISBN 0-930931-15-7.
- Paddison, Joshua (ed.) (1999). A World Transformed: Firsthand Accounts of California Before the Gold Rush. Heyday Books, Berkeley, CA. ISBN 1-890771-13-9.
- Ruscin, Terry (1999). Mission Memoirs. Sunbelt Publications, San Diego, CA. ISBN 0-932653-30-8.
- Smilie, Robert A. (1975). The Sonoma Mission, San Francisco Solano de Sonoma: The Founding, Ruin and Restoration of California's 21st Mission. Valley Publishers, Fresno, CA. ISBN 0-913548-24-3.
- Yenne, Bill (2004). The Missions of California. Thunder Bay Press, San Diego, CA. ISBN 1-59223-319-8.
- Listing and photographs at the Historic American Buildings Survey
- Sonoma State Historic Park Official state park site